Najla Said’s Looking for Palestine: Identity at Crossroads

  • Dawla S. Alamri Assistant Professor of English Literature - Department of English, University of Jeddah - Saudi Arabia
الكلمات المفتاحية: anorexia, Bakhtin, chronotope, diaspora, Edward Said, Looking for Palestine, memoir, Najla Said


In her memoir, Looking For Palestine: Growing up Confused In An Arab-American Family (2013), Najla Said, the Palestinian-American actress, playwright, author, and activist, has raised more questions than giving answers, negotiating the space between a position of enunciation and the multiple yet diverse cultural legacies and political powers at play. This paper extends arguments on her memoir by focusing on how she portrays Palestine, excavating the memories of her childhood and adolescent years. The remote homeland portrait, Palestine, the abstract space established through her father’s stories and media reports, is exposed to a new consciousness after her visit to Palestine in 1992 with her father, Edward Said, and family.  The paper explores how Najla Said’s journey to Palestine, along with the 9/11 attacks, was a pivotal turning point in her reconfiguration of self and identity while reconstructing the homeland.  The paper also examines the inconsistent images of the homeland and the host land where Najla Said suffers from confusion and disintegration, trying to liberate herself from both prejudices, reidentified not only with the homeland but also with the host land.  The paper analyzes Najla’s narrative, with its chronotopic relationship that shapes her new consciousness of history and the landscape.  It also examines how Najla Said traverses the space and friction between filiation and affiliation to live her life, to find her own voice and space in a more humane universal world that enjoys love, peace, and art.


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كيفية الاقتباس
Dawla S. Alamri. (2022). Najla Said’s Looking for Palestine: Identity at Crossroads. مجلة الفنون والأدب وعلوم الإنسانيات والاجتماع, (78), 178-197.